Students warned of rental scams in Limerick

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GARDAÍ are issuing a warning about rental scams in Limerick as students prepare to find accommodation for the next college year.

Garda John Finnerty told the Limerick Post that there are such scams which occur “throughout the year, but there is a spike at this time of the year when a new generation of third level students are seeking accommodation.

“Because of the rental shortage and the pressure to source accommodation, a number of students in Limerick have fallen victim to  rental scams in recent weeks,” he said.

Garda Finnerty explained that the scams usually fall into three categories.

“The scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the accommodation and requests a deposit; the scammer is living at the property. he shows a number of people around, requests a deposit from each and disappears with the money; or, the transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.”

Garda Finnerty’s first advice is that renters should establish that the house exists and that it is available for rent in the first place.

“Ideally only do business with established bona fide rental agencies,” is the Garda advice.

In addition, renters should always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.

“Ask for identification, a driver’s licence or photo identification of the landlord or letting agent, etc and take a photo of the document on your phone.

“Pay the deposit to the landlord or agent and not the persons leaving the property or courier or any other person and use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and keep copies of receipts of payments and any correspondence.”

Finally, Garda Finnerty advises “ensure keys fit, and sign the rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.”